Iowa Women's Basketball

Kathleen Doyle hopes 'competitive fire' helps her stick with WNBA's Indiana Fever

Former Hawkeye, and 2020 Big Ten player of the year, was selected 14th in the WNBA Draft

Iowa's Kathleen Doyle (22) looks to her teammates while taking the ball downcourt last season. Doyle was drafted Friday
Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle (22) looks to her teammates while taking the ball downcourt last season. Doyle was drafted Friday night by the Indiana Fever of the WNBA. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Yes, Kathleen Doyle has seen “Hoosiers.”

“Of course,” she said. “What a crazy question.”

The final scene of the 1986 motion picture was filmed in Hinkle Fieldhouse, home of the Butler Bulldogs.

It’s also the temporary home of the Indiana Fever. And a potential playground for Doyle.

The 2019-20 Big Ten women’s basketball player of the year for the University of Iowa, Doyle was selected by the Fever as the 14th pick of the WNBA Draft on Friday.

That was earlier than Doyle was projected by any of the national experts.

“I was really excited to see my name get called, for sure,” Doyle said in a teleconference Saturday morning. “I don’t know if I was surprised I went so early. I had a good interview with them.”

Doyle was the second of three players drafted by the Fever, who finished 13-21 last season.

Lauren Cox of 2019 NCAA champion Baylor was the third pick overall; Kamiah Smalls, a shooting guard out of James Madison, was chosen 28th.

ESPN graded the Fever’s draft a B-plus.

“How well Doyle fits in remains to be seen,” ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel wrote. “Iowa hasn’t had a lot of success putting players in the WNBA; Megan Gustafson made the Wings’ roster last year after initially being cut from the team as a second-round pick.”

Doyle talked about her “competitive fire,” and how she hopes that will help her land a roster spot.

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“You’re going to need that in the WNBA,” she said. “People are out there wanting to show you what’s up.”

After Doyle was drafted, first-year Fever coach Marianne Stanley told The Indianapolis Star, “When she was still on the board, we knew we had to take her. She’s a really good guard who can play both point and (shooting guard) ... She’s as competitive as they come. Great leadership qualities which you want in a point guard.”

Indianapolis is less than three hours from Doyle’s home in LaGrange Park, Ill. The Fever are relocating to Hinkle for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and part of 2022, due to renovation to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Fever ranked seventh in the league in attendance last year, averaging 5,887 fans per game at Bankers Life.

The regular-season schedule was supposed to begin May 15, but the season is suspended until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re at a stage of time with a lot of unknowns,” said Doyle, who has hired former WNBA guard Ticha Penicheiro as her agent.

The Fever’s website lists a roster of 18 players, 12 of which will become part of the active roster.

Erica Wheeler has been in the league five years and is the incumbent as the starting point guard. She averaged 5.0 assists per game last season.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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